Maternal Employment Shapes Daughters’ Employment Stability in Egypt

Egyptian moms play a crucial role in their daughters’ stable careers, despite the unequal job opportunities provided for women to this day. Dr Mariam Abouelenin and Professor Yang Hu, of Lancaster University, conducted a research study that underlined the growing impact of working Egyptian mothers on their adolescent daughters, pointing out how girls are more affected by their mothers than they are by their fathers, as daughters usually follow their mothers’ career ambition.

The research also added that mothers’ employment in the public or private sector jumpstarts their daughters’ aspirations and opportunities to acquire a secure job in the same sector.

The titled study, ‘Maternal Employment Shapes Daughters’ Employment Stability in Egypt: Evidence for the Intergenerational Transmission of Labor Force Attachment’ has been published in the journal, Sex Roles. It mainly reflects on how women’s employment is shaped by their mothers’ career choice

Dr. Abouelenin shared the findings of her study, which indicated that supporting Egyptian moms’ employment leads to empowering women and achieving gender equality in the job market for generations. She also highlighted the strong relation between having an employed mother and a daughter’s job stability, pointing out that girls with employed mothers have double the chance to get stable employment than girls with stay-at-home moms.

She said “We felt this study was important because women’s employment stability is an important yet understudied dimension of women’s economic empowerment”, Adding “A common trend that we are seeing in Egypt – and many Middle East and North Africa countries – is a rapid increase in female education attainment and the closing of gender gaps in education. But women’s educational success is not translating into their participation in the labour force.”

And then she concluded her speech by stating “Future interventions are needed to also break sectorial segregation in the Egyptian labour market,” she added. “One area worth targeting is the intergenerational relationship between mothers and their daughters.”

New report highlights the private sector response to promoting gender equality in the Arab States

Cairo – In partnership with the UN Global Compact and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States published the Bridging the Gap in the Arab States report on emerging private sector response and recovery measures for gender equality, a companion piece to the global publication of UN Women and IFC ‘Bridging the Gap – Emerging Private Sector Response and Recovery Measures for Gender Equality amid COVID-19 (2020)

The report provides examples of good practices from a growing number of businesses in the Arab States that are taking gender-responsive action to ensure the economic inclusion and social well-being of their employees, customers, and suppliers, as well as local communities. By adopting a holistic and intersectional approach, the report presents the good practices of private sector companies across six diverse thematic pillars that can ultimately contribute to achieving better business outcomes, lowering turnover and absenteeism rates in the workplace, and increasing productivity levels in the workplace.

The six thematic pillars are: promoting well-being and mental health; providing flexibility and family-friendly policies; enabling equal access and use of digital technologies and platforms; ensuring equal access to financial and non-financial services; strengthening inclusive supply chains and support for women-led businesses; and addressing, preventing and mitigating gender-based violence.

Welcoming the release of the report, the Regional Director for UN Women in the Arab States, Ms. Susanne Mikhail Eldhagen, said “the economic crisis as result of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted different regions, countries, and populations differently. However, we do see one common thread, namely that women have borne the brunt of job losses and increases in unpaid care, as well as exposure to violence. We know from the evidence that women’s economic inclusion and increased labour force participation can significantly impact and accelerate the region’s socio-economic recovery, and hence address the negative consequences of the economic crisis. Therefore, UN Women emphasizes the importance of partnerships with the private sector to advance and promote gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and communities. We are pleased to see that a growing number of companies in the region share this commitment, and applaud the more than 350 companies that have already signed the CEO Statement of Support to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), forming part of a global platform of close to 6,500 members that are taking action towards women’s economic empowerment.”

“Ensuring women have a seat at the table is not just the right thing to do, it’s good business,” said Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, IFC’s Regional Director for the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. “With the private sector facing uncertainty around the world, instilling workplace policies that address the gender gap will support businesses while promoting the sustainable growth of the global economy.”

Sanda Ojiambo, Assistant Secretary-General & CEO of the UN Global Compact said “while we are all navigating uncharted waters with the current converging crises of the world, one thing is for certain: to build forward better, we must build forward in a more gender inclusive way. Together, we can disrupt gender stereotypes and ensure that women and girls are empowered in business and beyond.”

The report makes a regional call to action for business leaders to introduce and implement necessary gender-sensitive policies and measures to address the gender gap. A gender-responsive business environment will translate into sustainable and inclusive development that will be more resilient to potential future socio-economic shocks.


Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, 2022

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is annually celebrated on the 19th of November, to honor, empower and help businesswomen eliminate poverty. Despite the crucial role women play in the economic and social well-being of their communities, they are yet to be equally included in meaningful participation in the economy, according to the US Department of state. Around 2.4 million women of working age worldwide, are not presented with equal economic opportunity, and this must change.

To achieve gender equality, and peace, among other crucial development outcomes, we must first reach women’s economic empowerment, which enables them to contribute to their communities’ health and education, and by extension alleviate poverty.

We could substantially improve the living standards of close to 388 million women and girls, which were estimated to be experiencing extreme poverty in 2022, only by empowering women economically; and in doing so, we will also succeed in sustaining just and harmonious societies. Sadly, we barely achieve half the global average of women’s meaningful participation in public administration in fragile and conflict-affected countries; this results in diminishing peace and hinders women’s participation in the economy. Moreover, women play a major part in post-conflict recovery, as they are more likely to spend their incomes on family needs and largely partake in conflict recovery.

Economic empowerment for women and girls will result in increasing protection of natural resources, eliminating gender-based violence “GBV”, as well as attaining better educational and health outcomes. Considering that poverty is highly associated with gender-based violence, which negatively affects women’s participation in the economy, it is vital to empower women economically to reduce GBV.

Frequent gender-based violence holds back women’s participation in the economy, considering the strong link between the two, GBV and economic empowerment should simultaneously be targeted by national and international policies to ensure the greatest positive impact for women worldwide.

It’s a well-known fact that the climate crisis has a more significant effect on women and girls in all their diversity, but it has an even more dramatic impact on women in poor and marginalized areas, who face bigger problems, such as droughts or floods.

Furthermore, the representation of women in climate leadership roles and international climate negotiations, is majorly lacking, compared to their efforts in mitigating the crisis, as they bear unproportioned responsibilities for unpaid care and domestic work, in addition to spending an estimated 2.5 times more time on unpaid care work than men.

What’s more is that 35% of women, don’t even have access to bank accounts, and are only presented with three quarters of the legal rights already available to men.

All these gender-based restrictions, lower access to productive resources, and legal discrimination, on top of being subjected to GBV, limit their economic participation. These issues need to be addressed.

In agreement, the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues urged expanding the economic participation of women, which is beneficial to reaching a fruitful, conflict-free, and sustainable world. For that reason, the US department announced its plan to participate in these efforts, via 2 flagship programs.

The first program is, Women and Girls Empowered (WAGE), a global association including over 40 organizations, which aims to eliminate women’s issues, conflict, GBV, and economic insecurity. It works on enhancing women’s rights, with the help of local civil society organizations.

While the second is the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), which mainly focuses on guiding and funding women entrepreneurs and giving them direct access to domestic and international markets.

Taking quick actions to fulfill a safe environment and equal participation opportunities in the economy, must be treated as a top priority by the US government, in collaboration with other governments and all private sectors, globally.


Across the world, women are climate solution-makers

Through their discussion on policy measures for gender-equal climate policy at COP27 in Egypt, the Nordic ministers and African leaders expressed how climate policy will eyewitness the transformative influence that women’s equal involvement is going to have on international climate negotiations.

As a result of hosting the COP27 in Africa, the ongoing climate negotiation in Egypt is currently referred to as “Africa’s COP”. The continent is considered the least contributor to climate change, and the most affected by it.

Representatives from the Nordic governments, the African Union, and UN Women explored new methods to attain better equitable leadership, due to the significant portrayal of gender equality in the present climate negotiations.

Head of the UN gender equality body UN Women, Sima Bahous, noted “Globally, little funding is targeted at gender equality and women’s climate action. Moving forward, government action, including from African and Nordic leaders, must improve access to funding for gender-equal climate solutions.”

A policy guaranteeing gender equality across the board in areas of agriculture, higher education, transport and fishing needs to be reinforced, in view of the huge effect green transition is expected to have on all aspect of the society.

“On our continent, it is women who take care of the lion’s share of agriculture and who must now adapt food production to climate change. We need embark a highly attractive, climate- and gender-smart agricultural policy for the new generation of food producers,” stated Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, the commissioner responsible for agriculture and sustainable environment in the African Union.

Espen Barth Eide, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, represented Nordic countries joined by Hanna Sarkkinen, Finland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health; they both pointed out that the climate policy in Nordic countries are relatively “gender-blind” to this day, in an attempt to push gender-equality to be higher up on the climate agenda, on a national international level.

Hanna Sarkkinen added “I’ve read the African Union’s climate action plan and learnt a lot. The Nordic countries have made a joint commitment to put all the relevant knowledge on the table and to integrate gender equality in all the policy areas affected by the green transition. I’m working hard to implement this commitment in Finland.”

Evidentially, African women face higher risks and more dramatic consequences regarding climate change, and the direct link between gender equality policies and climate didn’t go over their head.

Praised by Head of UN Women, Sima Bahous, for being “Solution-makers”, African women continue to discover new ways to combat and adapt to climate change and diminish its negative effect on their families and children.

“Educating girls is a good way of building a society that is resilient in the face of climate change.” Said Kenya’s Director of Climate Change and Forestry, Pacifica Ogola, stressing the need for well-educated women in the process of implementing climate policy.

Three Asks on Gender Equality to COP27

By Ms. Sima Bahous, Executive Director, UN Women

According to our research, we are falling 300 years behind on achieving sustainable development’s fifth goal. Equal participation and the complete involvement and leadership of women and girls in all their diversities are essential to our strong determination and rapid actions towards saving our planet. We can’t attain climate justice, until we achieve gender equality first. And in order to accomplish all our grand goals, which include 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, the Agreed Conclusions of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the Paris Agreement and subsequent COP outcomes, and the collective commitments of Generation Equality, we must first fulfill the vital missing link, gender equality.

COP27 presents us with the opportunity to acknowledge women and girls and magnify their role in presenting modern solutions for climate change issues, in addition to comprehending the reasons behind limiting their participating and putting an end to it.
We must also come up with reliable policies and effective plans for dealing with impacts of the climate change, including immediate and long-term effects of the crisis.

The climate crisis, not unlike any other disaster, poses a more substantial threat to women, as they have to face its consequences and endure its instant and future risks on their livelihood, that is why we need to prioritize women when we take climate actions.

Significant actions are taken by women, in terms of adapting and mitigating the effects of the climate crisis, as they take the lead on environmental and climate justice movements and present their fresh and innovative outlook on ways to promote sustainability and agroecology, which is crucial in protecting local ecosystems. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop the devastating injustice and imbalance in the decision-making process. These injustices can be seen across all the sectors in charge of adapting to the climate change, and that includes, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, water and education above all.

Executive director of UN Women displays the UN climate conference’s obligations needed to achieve gender equality. She has three particular demands for the COP27, regarding gender equality.

My first ask to COP27 is to take special measures, including quotas, to increase women’s and girls’ full, equal, and meaningful participation and leadership at all levels of decision-making, and to address inequalities including in their access to and control of productive resources such as finance, technology, and land, especially women from poor and marginalized communities.

We must also address all factors constraining women and robbing their opportunity to voice their concerns and innovative solutions, participate in the process of decision making and have equal opportunities as men, regarding the nearly 24 million new jobs in green sectors worldwide.

Furthermore, we must use the COP27 as a chance to highlight and put a stop to the neglected dangers women face on daily basis, including domestic abuse, trafficking, child marriage, silencing and attacking those who attempt to achieve human rights and stealing women’s rights to have proper education, jobs needed to be effective members in our society and be able to contribute to climate action.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, women were forced to do over 500 billion of unpaid extra hours, and many of them where let go and never returned to their positions. The climate emergency is making women’s situation and livelihood even worse and that needs immediate attention.

My second ask to COP is therefore to support a just transition for women through an alternative development model. 

This model aims to increase gender-responsive public services, women’s social protection, health and care systems, and provide the means to prevent violence against women and girls in general within climate actions, in addition to supporting them and guaranteeing them a safe living environment and decent jobs.

UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW66) stated the need to consider gender perspective within funding, implementing, monitoring and evaluating all national climate actions. They went on advising member states and stakeholders to take immediate action in expanding gender-responsive funding, with the help of the UNFCCC’s gender action plan.

Barely 0.01% of global official development assistance advocate women rights in parallel with the climate change, and that needs to change soon. Intentional global investments are required to support women’s organization and encourage their leadership actions in response to the climate crisis.

My third ask is that COP’s decisions on global investments, especially for women and girls in developing countries, intentionally and directly amplify and foster women’s skills, resilience and knowledge, ensure that women’s organizations, including young women, are supported and protected, and include specific investment to remove critical barriers for women and put protections in place.

Gender equality is our best weapon in the battle against climate change, and it’s what we must achieve in order to have global solidarity and better chance of survival.